When Trouble Comes for You

Stan Guthrie | December 28, 2016

Like lots of people, I’ve had no shortage of challenges and heartaches in my life, including disability, the sudden loss of my father, and career setbacks. Once, when grieving a broken relationship, I turned to a trusted older friend for comfort.

“This hurts more than anything I’ve ever experienced,” I said.

“Oh,” my friend gently replied over the phone. “You’ll have to face a lot worse than this.”

And of course this friend was right. It was a bracing wake-up call from someone farther along the path of suffering, who has survived a brain infection, cancer, and the death of a spouse.

Phil Ryken—president of Wheaton College and former senior minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia—takes a similarly realistic but ultimately compassionate approach to Christian suffering in his latest book, When Trouble Comes. Rather than offer up yet another tightly argued theodicy, Ryken steps into the trenches with us, both as a pastor and also as a fellow sufferer.

In so doing, he describes a period of deep discouragement when thoughts of suicide intruded into his life. Part of what helped Ryken survive was the realization that incredibly painful times are completely normal.

“The bitterness I briefly tasted,” he…

To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/book-review-when-trouble-comes.